Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Two Cents On The Debt Ceiling

Some essentials:
  1. A deal will be done.
  2. The chest thumping on both sides will continue right up to the moment when the Kumbaya press conference happens.
  3. The cuts to the budget will be heavier on symbolism than substance, by a ton.
I find the whole battle to be pure theatre, and am really blown away by how so many on either side think this is a gigantic, meaningful political battle. It isn't.

If anything, it shows me how successfully the forces for big government have won the debate. When the 'debate' is over whether to cut $30 billion or $60 billion, in the face of spending more than $2 trillion, it is clear that big government is committed to in full.

So, when I see pundits arguing strenuously about how we're about to eviscerate the government's social programs, or really tackling the tough issues, I'm left wondering if such efforts are a result of having no grasp on reality, no sense of perspective, or just propaganda.

Now, if at my Walter Mitty best, I woke up and found myself Obama, I would start by ending the wars. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya? Done. Troops home in 90 days or less.

The public showed an appetite for ending Iraq 3 years ago, and elected a candidate who promised to end it. So make good. The public supported Afghanistan on the bogus pretext of getting Bin Laden. That's done, so the pretext is gone. And nobody was clamoring for a war in Libya. That looks like an attempt to distract, at best. So, over the 'harumpf harumpf' noises of the right, this could get done.

That isn't all that really needs to be cut, by any means. But if I was president, I'd have worked towards the kind of deal with ending the wars as the centerpiece, leaving the precious entitlements alone (as happened in 1995, because the GOP then realized that the big government conversation was settled), leaving the tax cuts in place, giving everybody a little something, but doing something that would really help our country in several ways.

As a side note, I'm still really surprised how Obama has emerged as a poor communicator. He had the press eating out of his hand by the time of his inauguration. He really didn't cultivate that the way he could have, just by having more frequent press conferences. To me, he appears to have been hiding from the press, which makes absolutely no sense.

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